ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Why the BBS Documentary is Creative Commons —

I’ve been hemming and hawing about doing this entry, going over how to approach it in my mind, starting and restarting what statements to put in it, what comments to make, and so on. I get like this about some entries and this one is a pretty important one, so realize what went into it.

The BBS Documentary has been released under a Creative Commons Attribute-Sharealike 2.0 license. The “Creative Commons” movement means different things to different people, so of course you should check their website to get the full story on this, but I’m going to paraphrase it for my needs.

Creative Commons is a group of rock and roll lawyers who basically looked at the currently draconian copyright law and decided to back-hack in an alternative copyright that would allow various uses of content and material in a way that was clear and distinct for all parties. Whereas current copyright law in the United States basically says that if a child touches a CD without paying for it ahead of time, that child may be shot in the head…. creative commons says that the kid can go and play with the CD and make strange sounds with its content or add some beats or sample it or whatever, depending on the license. Oh, and you can’t shoot the child in the head.

Like a lot of people, I am generally a content acquirer and not as much a content generator. I don’t consider to be much in the way of my own generated content; I’ve probably added 10 to 20 megabytes of descriptive text to index about 2 gigabytes of text on the main site, with similar ratios in other sub-sites. That’s just indexing. I’ve written articles and I’ve even been known to make a song or two, but that’s nothing compared to the piles of CDs I’ve bought over the years. Therefore, from that position, it is very easy to look at current copyright law, shake my tiny fist, and go “grrrrr” like a puppy. What have I got to lose, right? So sure, free the content, open source the moon, give me, give me, give me.

It is an entire other situation when you look at something like this documentary; the four year production time I quote on the site and elsewhere is not fake; I started in June of 2001 and DVDs went out to homes in May of 2005. It really did take that long. And I really did spend upwards of a year of waking hours working on the project, from e-mails and analyzing essays and old files, to the production process of filming and travelling and interviewing, to the months of editing, culling hundreds of hours of footage into honed, informative, entertaining but honest authentic narrative. It was, basically, the biggest media thing I’ve made ever. It is also, at the end, for sale, a sellable product on three DVDs and a very nice package.

Like a lot of people, I am not entirely comfortable talking about The Money, but if you calculate my personal time as worthless, that is, that I don’t include the actual per-hour cost of me doing this, then you end up with the costs of duplication and the costs of production. The costs of production include buying equipment, computer parts/hard drives, travel, meals, speeding tickets for trying to get to the next interview too quickly, and a ton of little sundry items like tolls, shipping packs, admission to conventions, and so on. If you add up these two sets of costs (and again, not count my time) we come up somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty thousand dollars.

Since the documentary worked out to an eight episode 5.5 hour collection, with 80 minutes of bonus, and will ultimately yield 100 hours or more of interviews that will be released, it is a bargain beyond bargains. But of course saying that is a shell game; it’s like saying “I saved so much money on this sale”. The fact is, I spent a lot of cash, and time.

So, ultimately, I am charging people for this documentary. I am charging $50. People ask me the material cost of the DVDs themselves and the packaging, and of course that’s a fraction. But it doesn’t count the other costs in making what goes on the DVDs. This price has caused some people to balk, understandably, in a world where you can buy “Dirty Dancing” for $3.99 in the aisle with the beach balls. That’s the nature of things. The documentary website goes into the full feature set and explanation of how great the whole thing is and why you should buy a copy, so I won’t do that here, other than to say, I’ve now seen the films over 200 times apiece, and I still watch some of them. For fun. But still, fifty bucks is fifty bucks.

Now, under copyright law in the United States, I have, as a content creator, an amazing arsenal of statutes and legal decisions at my disposal to make your life, assuming you are playing the part of someone copying my films without my permission, into a bitter fucking hell. I mean, a seriously bad, stinky, horrifying pit of suck. I can threaten you with years of jail. I can sue you in civil court while pursuing a criminal case against you on a state and federal level. If I am feeling somewhat kinky I can try and drag Interpol into the whole mess. And the laws out there, approved, let me attempt to have you put away for YEARS. Absolutely YEARS of your life for videotaping a copy of my film.

In other words, I have an enormous amount of incentive to be a jerk.

And yes, it’s so easy, having now created something that has the potential to cost me a lot of money, to reach out and want to use these tools for my own end. Even though, in my own high school and college years, I made songs that used samples from professional productions, even if I took screengrabs from films and put them on a website to make a funny parody in 1995, I see my own work and the temptation is there to go “No, this is different. This is my stuff and you can’t have my stuff without paying for it.”

But that’s not what I did. Instead, I stayed true to my belief system and licensed it under Creative Commons, giving away a lot of the tools that US copyright law grants me, because they’re are By the Jerks, for the Jerks, and should perish from this Earth.

It was in some ways a tough decision, because you want to “protect” yourself, but then you realize you’re not really “protecting” anything; all you’re doing is being a paranoid twitch-bag. And once you realize this, then it becomes a little easier.

Here is my secret 11 herbs and spices recipe for how I approached creating the documentary and then Creative Commons licensing the final work.

Create a really good movie.
I mean, just go overboard. Totally do as much research as you can, spend months working stuff out, talk to thousands of people on the subject, compose tools for tracking that information you gather. Get a mailing list with advisors. Film everywhere, do all the background filming, don’t blink when opportunities arise. Get footage like you wouldn’t believe, and then edit that thing for months on end until it absolutely sings. Then kick it in the crotch and make it sing louder and on key.

Result: You have a product that people respect.

Create some kick-ass packaging.
Find out what your printing company offers, then ask for a custom version. Take enormous insane risks in the creation of the packaging so that it has a unique feel. Use full color. Use photos. Get a professional cover artist to make you some custom artwork that catches the eye like a fishhook. Embed little messages into the artwork. Get artists from around the world to contribute little pieces. Find out what’s required to make the package look unique, and then exceed it.

Result: You have a package that can’t be easily reproduced digitally, and which represents a unique experience in owning it.

Make it easy to order and ask questions.
Use Paypal, Kagi, Amazon, whoever wants to sell it. Allow yourself to be contacted for questions and inquiries. Be responsive. Treat people who want to buy your work with respect and honor, do not cheat them or claim your work is something it is not. Allow them to see previews, to see what they’re getting. Be upfront and honest if there are delays and explain carefully what is going on so people who give you money are not in the dark and feeling like they were had. Share your pain and your happiness as the person working on your project.

Result: Customers will respect your work and effort and purchase instead of copying it, since it’s just as easy.

Be available for autographs and discussions.
Answer e-mail as quickly as you can. If people want you to autograph the package, be willing to do so, no questions asked. Go to places where people who buy your works are around, and answer questions/show them you’re a real person. Do not use agents, handlers, bodyguards, bouncers or an entourage to make people feel you consider them a “problem” in your life.

Result: People will know you’re a person who has sunk themselves and their spirit into the product.

Realize that some people simply do not buy media anymore.
Even if you are honest, open, friendly, making a kick-ass product and totally changing the world with your little whooziz, some people, on principle, do not pay for media. This is what they do and they have tools to get media for free, tools that are better than your tools are and which are much more ubiquitous and better updated. In realizing this, perhaps you will stop treating every single person who purchases your product like a scumbag, guilty until proven innocent, beneath and below you. A number of people do not pay. This happens at the circus, the rock concert, your local supermarket and at your job. To turn your customer base into a constantly-on-alert totalitarian wasteland is not the effective solution. Instead, assume that if you’ve actually made a unique, interesting product and put your heart into it and made something that can’t truly be duplicated, people will pay. And if you treat them like they’re human beings, they’ll ask other people to pay too.

Result: You save a lot of lawyers fees, and people feel like customers and not shotgun targets. Also, your breath will smell better.

You can see where I’m going with this, I hope.

The Creative Commons Attribute ShakeAlike license says, in effect, that people can copy, remix, sample, fiddle with, and otherwise treat the BBS Documentary’s content as one might treat a piece of fabric in your home: in pretty much any way you want, to whatever ends, including commercial. The difference is the usual digital magic that you can make endless copies forever, but otherwise, it’s just another item in your home and on your computer that you own, basically. The rules are pretty simple: if you make something using it, you have to also allow people to use your something the same way, and you have to let people know you got it from Jason Scott’s BBS Documentary. Otherwise, go absolutely nuts, kids. Do things without fear of being sent to jail (and jail is a horrible place, believe me) and improve and build on the BBS Documentary so that it has a place in popular culture and education for years, maybe decades to come.

It is incumbent upon me to provide something worth buying, that is, the packaging is nice, the printing was professional, my research site and my story are easily found, and the process of ordering copies is painless and easy. If I fail you, if I have packaging that’s horrible or indifferent (think of so many “re-releases” of old albums), or a product that’s not worth buying (think of 90 percent of the crap in the world) or I make it so you have to sign away 3 children to buy a copy (think of “Click-through agreements” and “shrink-wrap licenses”), then I’m not really trying to attract your business, am I? I’m making your life a living hell in an attempt to make my life heaven. Why should you go the extra step to pay me?

I hope that the ordering page is easy to use and clear on what you get. I hope the website is informative, fun, and intruiging to browse. I hope that my own story of creating this work inspires people to pay me for it. But I realize this will not always be the case. I am not going to set the world on fire because of it. Respect flows both ways, and I get and recieve it in my mailbox on a daily basis now.

Now, here is one important misconception I have to address, related to all this, and which naturally shows up when people hear about the Creative Commons license.

Just because I have Creative Commons licensed this documentary does not mean I don’t like getting paid for it.

I hope that’s clear. What I’ve done is say “I’m not going to be a jerk-nut and threaten and insinuate and treat you like scum and tell you what you can and can’t do with the DVDs once you buy them.” In another way I’m saying “I realize that some people will not buy them and watch them anyway… oh well! I am happy they are seeing it. I hope they might still consider paying for it, but hope is what it is.”

I’ve seen people say “He wants us to torrent it, he wants us to copy it and give it away.” Well, no. I don’t want that; I want people to buy it and show it to whoever they want and blow a copy to a friend who wants to see one of the episodes but probably wouldn’t buy it anyway, or to take it to a friend’s house and play it for a dozen people. I want people to discuss the stuff in it, remember the good times with BBSes, generally think about that history and maybe consider writing down their own or making their own documentary. That’s what I want.

What I will get is going to range wildly, and that’s fine; people who will buy it, will buy it. (And thank you for doing so.) People who do not want to buy it will not buy it. It is, literally, out of my hands. I will not thrash and cry as if this is a new situation in the world.

I’ve cooked up my herbs and spices as I’ve listed above so that it’s something worth paying for. I didn’t just do the least amount of work necessary for it to be considered “not a total ripoff” and then market the living crap out of it to flim-flam people into paying good money for bad product. Believe me, I see a lot of stuff where that’s obviously what’s going on, and it’s why certain parts of the world are jaded and misanthropic about being made to pay for certain products.

In one of my world-famous metaphors, it’s like buying bread. You don’t feel ripped off buying bread; you don’t go “holy nails, why is this bread twenty dollars? In fact, it’s stale! It’s not even BREAD. It’s some sort of “best of bread” with a couple pieces of other loaves of bread stitched together!” Yet people feel this way about media and other products all the time. I’ve tried to make a decent, good, solid loaf of bread here, which tastes good, is what it says it is, and doesn’t cheat you.

So there we go, a long-winded essay indeed, but I hope it makes clear once and for all my feelings about all this. This is all an enormous risk I am taking, one being taken in the pursuit of a principle, and people have lost livelihoods and happiness pursuing principles. On the other hand, some people have become quite wealthy. I wouldn’t mind becoming wealthy, and maybe all this work I’ve done with this documentary will make me wealthy. But even if it doesn’t, I know that I achieved what I achieved without throwing my audience and customers into a meat grinder. And that’s a pretty good thing to know.

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  1. Firas says:

    Thanks, Jason. An inspiring mode of thinking.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok that does it. CC licensed minus region coding/CSS/Macrovision was what tipped “I want” to “I have placed an order”. Thanks, Jason.

  3. bluknight says:

    What you might want to do is set up a Paypal (or Amazon) “tip bucket” and put out the word that for people who don’t buy the media but still really really like the product, there’s still a way they can contribute.

  4. l.m.orchard says:

    …or a tip bucket for people who *did* buy the media but thought the price was *way* too low. 🙂

  5. Boing Boing says:

    Why the BBS Documentary is Creative Commons licensed

    Jason Scott, creator of the kick-ass, five hour BBS Documentary, has written a stupendous essay on why he chose to license the produce of his years-long labor under a very liberal Creative Commons license: Even if you are honest, open, friendly, making…

  6. Paranoid Twitch-Bags (Legal Term)

    A common argument for giving away some rights surrounding your intellectual property is that you’re not really giving up much of anything. You get back more than you give…
    But documentary filmmaker Jason Scott has other reasons for Creative Comm…

  7. Michiel says:

    great decision.

    With Waxy linking to your site and others soon to follow I am sure a lot of people will fork over the moolah.

    Because a bold move like this generates publicity and that combined with a cool product and a well thought-out licensing strategy (which is at the same time extremely respectful of customers) will mean income.

    Please let us know how you make out?

  8. Lance says:

    Hi Jason, my DVDs arrived yesterday! The packaging IS amazing, the episode I have watched IS amazing! The license etc IS amazing!

    My only issue is that I think I am one of the “gotamodemforchristmas” kids!

  9. victor says:

    “This is all an enormous risk I am taking…”

    Actually, I don’t know. The risk would be NOT sharing it with potential customers. I’ve come to see opening up my creations as the safe and sane thing.

    Can’t wait to see this Jason.

  10. Chris says:

    Kudos to you!! I hope the dvd sales are large and you make a packet!, I am happy that people are starting to disregard consumerism and materialism that own them.

  11. alex23 says:

    After all the crap we’ve had to listen to about IP lately, it’s refreshing to read something by someone who clearly _Gets It_.

    Here in Australia, the delays (or even non-arrivals) of a lot of creative works often leaves me with the feeling that we’re viewed as 2nd-class citizens in a cultural sense.

    We don’t want to be (and refuse to see ourselves as) thieves. We just want to enter into the same dialogue at the same time as everyone else. And when we’re _really_ enthusiastic about someone, we talk to _everyone_ about it.

    The point I’m longwindedly getting at is that your article has pushed me from keeping an eye out for a torrent to ordering it from Kagi this weekend. I _want_ to support genuine, _contributory_ creativity…it’s nice to actually see some for a change.

    Incidentally, what are your plans for your next big project? 🙂

  12. Coraje Creativo

    Jason Scott hizo un (al parecer) fabuloso documental sobre el mundo de los BBS. Le tomó cuatro años y, además de su tiempo y esfuerzo, gastó más de 50.000 dolares. El documental, de ocho episodios e…

  13. ASCII by Jason Scott: Why the BBS Documentary is Creative Commons

    ASCII by Jason Scott: Why the BBS Documentary is Creative Commons
    I’ve been hemming and hawing about…

  14. EricV says:

    Excellent explanation on, what seems to be, a very proper use of a Creative Commons license. I think it’s really hard for people to not be “paranoid twitch-bags” about the content that they create. They think “it’s mine, and if you do anything to modify it, I’ll get angry”. Pretty gutsy move in letting go a little bit. How long will it be before we start seeing larger productions utilizing the Creative Commons?

    Way to take the road less traveled!

  15. Guillermo says:

    …inspiring Jason, inspiring.

  16. Mike says:

    So break out the torrents, and I’ll send you a fractioned donation 🙂 Too expensive, but I’d throw in a few clams for a low-quality rip 😀

  17. Hendel says:

    “Respect flows both ways, and I get and recieve it in my mailbox on a daily basis now.”

    Damn straight it does, and thanks for advancing me yours, sight unseen. I posted a link to this page on my mailing list, with the following comment:

    “If I hadn’t already sent this guy $50, I would be now. I’d consider it even if the subject of his documentary was something like an in-depth examination of soybean farming, because right up there with Cory Doctorow’s essay on the subject (which purely by coincidence, my mailer chose as the tag for this message), this is the best argument from a content producer *against* the
    ridiculous overkill of copyright enforcement (and draconian copy protection) I’ve ever read.”

  18. Justin Mason says:

    ‘It was in some ways a tough decision, because you want to “protect” yourself, but then you realize you’re not really “protecting” anything; all you’re doing is being a paranoid twitch-bag. And once you realize this, then it becomes a little easier.’

    well said! Having been through this myself when I finally figured out that open sourcing code *works*, I can say that you’ve hit the nail on the head there. Thanks for a great article.


  19. Jim Gilliam says:

    This is great, great, great. I just ordered my copy.

    We really need more documentarians to release their projects with liberal CC licenses. I’m happy to have played a part in releasing Outfoxed and Uncovered with liberal licenses, and will be releasing even more when the new Wal-Mart documentary comes out. If we can get a critical mass of material out there, it will open the floodgates of creativity for future filmmakers, and we’ll all benefit.


  20. Jim Gilliam says:

    New BBS documentary released under Creative Commons

    Woohoo! Another documentary has just been released under a liberal Creative Commons license. Here’s a kind of rambling, but inspiring essay from the filmmaker, Jason Scott, on why he chose to release his 5 1/2 hour documentary, and 4 year labor of love…

  21. Why the BBS documentary was released with a creative commons license and what that means

    This is a great piece from the creator of the BBS documentary on why he released it under a fairly unrestricted creative commons license:

    Now, under copyright law in the United States, I have, as a …

  22. Mark says:

    This is really groundbreaking stuff, Jason. There’s been lots of theoretical talk about how copyright hurts innovation, especially in the realm of multimedia. But until recently, consumer-level technologies weren’t powerful enough to take advantage of liberally-licensed video content (or do much of anything with video other than play it with specialized hardware). So the complaints remained theoretical and abstract.

    But this project brings this discussion into sharp focus, makes it a concrete argument. You’ve created a significant amount of unique, priceless video footage, and released that content into the open content universe. When my son grows up, if he has a homework assignment on the history of computers, I will point him to your documentary and tell him that he’s allowed and encouraged to take your footage and remix it. I’ll tell him that he’s allowed and encouraged to take the sound effects from your DVD and sample them in OpenGarageBand 2015 and create music around them. I’ll tell him that he’s allowed and encouraged to cut a snippet from one of your interviews and post it to his videoblog or broadcast it on his personal streaming video server.

    And I’ll be sure to tell him that it wasn’t always like this, that when I was growing up, there was no open content. And maybe — just maybe — there will be so much open content in the world by then that he won’t believe me.

  23. Ben Donley says:

    I love you, man.

  24. Anil says:

    Thanks not just for being so open with your work, but for being so articulate about *why* you’re being open. It’s not enough that we all try to support the cause, and it’s maybe not even enough for people to put their money where their mouth is, like you have. What’s just as important is that people tell these stories, and show the work and the care and even the trepidation that comes from making a brave decision.

    I’m confident this will benefit you, and all of us, in the long run, and I’m glad we’ve all got your voice and your vision to help advance open culture.

  25. Mike says:

    It’s funny. The thought “I’ll just go download this later” never crossed my mind when I looked at the DVD package orgionally. It was “I gotta get some money together for this”.

    You’re right. Kick ass products sell themselves. And your kick ass attitude will sell even more.

  26. Chuck Olsen says:

    Amen, fellow docu-brother!
    Now I just gotta take the Whitney Houston song out of Blogumentary, and a few other things, that will pain me. But it’ll be for the common good.

  27. Az says:

    Nice. I would gladly pay US$50 for every DVD I have if it came with a CC license. And I own over 400 DVDs. Jason, you’re a ray of sanity in an otherwise overcast world…

  28. says:

    Free Culture War Cry

    Summary: Jason Scott on why a Creative Commons license makes sense for his documentary’s license.

  29. Matt says:

    I just wrote out a response but realized it got to be a bit of an essay itself, and this is your blog, not mine. I applaud your move, but your essay brings up some very interesting issues. Anyone interested in my response should head to

  30. $50 US is alot of cash, thats a over a days work, when there is work 😛

    I can afford maybe $10 for a download or maybe a lite version on CD-R.

    I really don’t place much value on physical media and I see you have considered people like me in your post. I don’t take care of things very well and the CD/DVDs usually end up scratched up and their packaging tore up and all end up in the garbage, I’d rather just take care of the two HD’s I have in my machine. Then on the other side of things, one of my old roommates burned off and then printed lables for everything he downloaded and also still took very good care of all the media he bought.

    I’ve mostly grew up on the internet, only catching the tail end of the BBS days. Living in a remote area BBS’s weren’t very active and there were only two with in my calling area. My uncle got me started when he first got a 486 which was the shit at the time. That thrusted me right into computers, a year later I got my first PC and quickly learned qbasic and mess around with with some terminal program that had some complex scripting. Shortly after that I finaly got the internet with my blazing 14.4k modem. But the internet was really expensive, 60 free hours a month only gave me 2 hours a day so I downloaded a few freeware/shareware BBS programs and started my own BBS which didn’t really take off due to the net gaining populality. After that I even looked at starting my own ISP which is only starting to get off the ground this year as a webhosting company :p (Its been a long, interesting jounney with many side roads taken(everything from shell accounts for IRC to WIFI). I’m almost finished my diploma in Telecom Eng. Technology and the big thing that has always been holding me back has been the local markets. Anyway the point of all this is that BBS’s are really what got me intrested in computers and telecom.

  31. Jason Scott says:

    Thanks everyone, for the comments.

    Mark (diveintomark), there’s always been a lot of Open Content out there, it’s just fallen out of favor as the “default”, now that the lawyers have tried to work out insane levels of tracking and crime associated with using “IP” in ways not approved.

    Matt, I will respond to your essay on your weblog, since you’re proposing a common fallacy that should be addressed.

    Chris, you sound just like the person I am talking about. You are one of my VIEWERS but you are not one of my CUSTOMERS. You would likely prefer to walk away and wait for life to get it to you in a digital form than spend $50. Maybe in 2-5 years, you might send me $50 or pay for something else I did because you saw what I did before. But regardless, no amount of action, threats, laws, or guilt trips are going to make you buy the physical product. And my response is to be OK and understand that, and not turn the place into a minefield in a fruitless pursuit of knuckling you under until you are forced to buy a copy of the story of the ANSI scene.

  32. Thanks Jason for this inspiring essay.

    As a beginning professional (and customer!) in the field of open broadband distribution for niche content, I would be interested in knowing more about your dealing with bandwidth issues.

    I understand you archived several (your favourite?) audio interviews on the Archive website. Some video interviews are actually also available for downloads on the BBS Documentary website.

    Are you planning on making more content available on the web for free and how? Are you counting on other motivated people to do so and spread the word with you?
    More generaly, what are the best practices you would recommend to others in order to allow wide and cost-effective open broadband distribution.

    Thanks Jason, once again, for making it possible to share your thoughts about releasing a documentary in such an interesting way.

    All the best!

  33. Lei Han says:

    Hey Jason,

    I could not send emails to your mailbox with my Gmail address. Your server rejected them.

    I ordered BBS: The Documentary from PayPal, and it would be on my desk in one or two weeks. Last week I gathered some friends together and told them things about this documentary. They said: That’s great, let us help to translate it into Chinese!

    Once we get the subtitle, translation will begin as soon as possible. I’ll let you have a copy of translated subtitle. You can deliver it in next version.

    Certainly I will not make torrents of the Documentary and let people download…etc. I translate subtitle because I love this great stuff and want my friends enjoy them without learning English too hard. 🙂


  34. Jason Scott on why he decided to license his straight-to-DVD documentary under a Creative Commons license

  35. Brett says:

    Jason – you really are K-Rad. The end product was worth sending $50 to a guy I never met before in October of 2004 and waiting patiently for it to come. I watched the whole series twice already and it rocked. Anyone who pirate your baby instead of shelling out the bucks is a l0s3r.

  36. dvd says:

    This is a wonderful read, and really rather inspiring to me – thanks for writing it. If I weren’t so broke at the moment, I’d buy your film in a heartbeat.

  37. Microsiervos says:

    Jason Scott y la licencia Creative Commons

    El autor del documental sobre la historia de las BBS en DVD del que hablábamos hace unos días cuenta en Why the BBS Documentary is Creative Commons por qué aún a pesar de que le ha llevado cuatro años terminarlo…

  38. I’ve been doing this CC thing with my music lately, and you have set some of my fears at ease! Nice job.


  39. Jeff Messer says:

    Jason, as a child of the BBS era I was already interested in this, but you choosing to give up some of your rights for the sake of sticking to your beliefs just…rocks. 🙂 If I can get the money together you just sold a copy!

  40. World Zone Pricing

    Cory Doctorow is releasing his new novel under a creative commons license. As with my first and second novels, I’ve posted the entire text of this book online under a Creative Commons license that allows the unlimited, noncommercial redistribution…

  41. I moved to the states from Australia in 1979, and one of the first things I did was buy real copies of all the role playing game books that I’d had to photocopy because they just weren’t available down under. I had a chance to tell a few of the authors about how their stuff was really big in Australia, but they’d never know, because nobody in Australia could get them except through photocopies (of course that’s not so true now, but it was then), and I was buying everything I’d had photocopies of now that I could… and once I got the weirdest reaction, like they thought I was scum for having made the photocopies, and they’d much rather I’d just bought them without telling them about it. I thought maybe they had an Australian distributor, but no, that wasn’t it. Like, maybe I should have done without (but then of course I’d never have bought the books, because I’d never have known about them).

    Real nice guy, not a jerk, but the whole idea squicked him. So, like, I don’t get it, but I think at least some of the jerks aren’t jerks so much as, I don’t know, they have some kind of phobia. You push their button, they freak out. Maybe we need some kind of alanon-style lay therapy for them. “Hi, I’m Jack, I quit the RIAA three years ago and I’ve been clean and sober since”.

  42. SJ says:

    This is fantastic; thanks for the explanation, the courage, and the heads-up. –SJ


    I interviewed director Greg Harrison this morning about his upcoming InDiGent feature November. We had a really wonderful and wide ranging conversation about the film and filmmaking in general – but when I got home and began to transcribe it…

  44. Spike says:

    Ballsy move Jason. I can’t wait for the pendulum to swing over to this more sane strategy at content distribution. I have shown this epic to several of my former BBS cronies and each one said “wow, can you make me a copy?” I told them that due to your own stated policy, I “COULD” do that, but I’d prefer to have them BUY their own copy. This coming from a devout and longtime dedicated ‘pirate’ is high praise indeed for your work.

    Thanks for having the vision and courage to put this thing together and BTW, when does the blooper reel debut? I’m sure there has to be one, as no geek ever gets it right on the first or even second ‘take!’

    Party on, and get ready for your next project. I promise to be as supportive of it as I was of this one.

    Spike out……

  45. lousi says:

    This is a wonderful read, and really rather inspiring to me – thanks for writing it. If I weren’t so broke at the moment, I’d buy your film in a heartbeat.

  46. PenGunAssasin says:

    Watched the episode “Art scene”

    i can understand the wanting to get some money for your work, but why not have an alternate means to get that money? if people want to use Bittorrent then _let them_… just allow for them to get you whatever money they feel appropriate… its not ripping if they still keep your name and give _you_ credit…

    just a thought! awsome work man!

  47. teledyski says:

    thanks vor this, very heplful…

  48. You’re right. Kick ass products sell themselves. And your kick ass attitude will sell even more.

  49. filmiki says:

    You have set some of my fears at ease! Nice job.

  50. życzenia says:

    You have set some of my fears at ease! Nice job!